Criticism and regret were directed at disgraced former U.S. Rep. Chris Collins following his sentencing by a federal judge Friday – though not much was said publicly among officials about whether or not the sentence that was meted out fit the crime.
U.S. District Court Judge Vernon S. Broderick handed down a 26-month prison sentence to Collins, who in October pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to an FBI agent. Prosecutors argued for a 57-month prison sentence.
Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray was among a few Democrats to release statements, following Collins' sentencing Friday.
In 2018, McMurray narrowly lost election to the 27th Congressional district seat, in which Collins was re-elected.
"Years of lies by Collins and those who justified his crimes ends like this. Tears. An empty seat. It's a sad moment. No sentence can heal the damage caused. The sting will linger," said McMurray.
"Remember this. Who brought us here. So when we look back, we will see how far we've come," said McMurray, who added that he will continue the fight to restore integrity to the Congressional district.
U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, a Democrat in the neighboring 26th Congressional District, also released a statement: "Since October 2017, when the House Ethics Committee first found 'substantial reason to believe that Representative Collins shared material nonpublic information in the purchase of Innate stock, in violation of House rules, standards of conduct and federal law' the good people of New York's 27th District have been without full and focused representation.
"The residents in NY-27 deserve trusted, honest leadership. Today's action closes a sad chapter for our community and brings Western New Yorkers living in this district closer to regaining engaged, principled representation," Higgins said.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairwoman Cheri Bustos also weighed in after the sentencing.
"Chris Collins betrayed the people in his Congressional District, not once, but twice. First by illegally trading insider information and then by lying about it repeatedly to his own voters," Bustos said.
"Collins' actions, unfortunately, reflect too much of what the GOP has become: a party driven by self-interest, not what is best for the country and the communities House Republicans were elected to represent," she added.
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, a Democrat, weighed in on Collins' sentencing with an observation on Twitter. Poloncarz defeated Collins in their 2011 matchup for county executive, denying Collins a second term in the office.
"Some have contacted me asking if I was "celebrating' the Collins sentence. I am not. I celebrated when I beat him in 2011. This is just sad because it reinforces to many that all elected officials are corrupt. There are bad folks in both parties but most are true public servants," Poloncarz tweeted.
The sentence handed down by Broderick included a $200,000 fine and one year of supervised release.
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